Dog catching yellow frisbee

As the sun climbs high and the days stretch longer, the lure of outdoor activities with our furry friends grows stronger. However, the joy of playing outside can turn risky for dogs during the blistering summer months. Overheating in dogs is not only uncomfortable but can also lead to serious health issues, including heatstroke. Fortunately, with some precautionary measures, you can ensure your dog enjoys the summer safely. Here’s your ultimate guide to preventing your dog from overheating and making sure the only thing hot this summer is the barbecue grill!

Understanding Dog Overheating

First, it’s crucial to recognize why dogs are susceptible to overheating. Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat through their skin. They cool off primarily through panting and to a lesser extent via sweat glands located in their paw pads. This cooling system isn’t as efficient in extreme heat or humidity, which means dogs can quickly become overheated if they're not properly cared for.

Signs of Overheating in Dogs

Corgi Dog panting from heat

Watch for signs that your dog might be getting too hot. Early recognition can prevent heatstroke, which can be fatal. Symptoms of overheating include:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Collapsing or convulsing

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to act quickly to cool down your dog and consult a veterinarian.

Prevention Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool

Small dog drinking water
  1. Timing Your Play

Opt for early morning or late evening playtimes when the sun’s rays are less intense. The temperature tends to be cooler, which is much safer for your pet.

  1. Hydration is Key

Always ensure your dog has access to fresh, cool water. Consider carrying a portable water bowl during walks and provide multiple shaded water stations in your yard. Adding ice cubes to the water can also be a refreshing treat.

  1. Create Shady Sanctuaries

Whether it’s a tree, pop-up tent, or an umbrella, make sure there’s plenty of shade in your play area. Dogs can cool off in these spots when they feel overheated.

  1. Cooling Accessories

Invest in cooling vests or mats. These products are designed to keep body temperatures in check. Cooling vests work through evaporation, while cooling mats often contain a gel that draws heat away from the body.

  1. Mind the Humidity

Remember, it’s not just the heat that’s the problem—it’s the humidity too. High humidity can prevent your dog from cooling effectively through panting. Always check the humidity levels before deciding on an outdoor excursion.

  1. Choose the Right Time for Exercise

Limit rigorous exercise. If your dog loves running or playing fetch, keep these activities for cooler parts of the day and shorten their duration.

  1. Consider Water-Based Activities

Let your dog splash around in a kiddie pool, run through a sprinkler, or play in a stream if you're near one. Water activities are excellent for keeping dogs cool while allowing them to exercise. See our blog Swimming with Your Dog

  1. Protect Their Paws
Woman carrying dog

The pads of your dog's feet are sensitive to hot surfaces. Avoid hot pavements or sand, which can not only overheat your dog but also cause burns. A good rule of thumb is if it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your dog’s.

  1. Proper Grooming

Keep your dog well-groomed, especially if they have a thick coat. However, don't shave your dog: their fur is natural insulation against heat and cold. Instead, brush regularly to remove excess fur and prevent matting, which can trap heat.

  1. Know Your Breed’s Needs
Pug dog running on pavement and panting

Some breeds are more prone to overheating than others. Brachycephalic breeds (like Pugs and Bulldogs) have shorter snouts, making it harder for them to pant effectively. Always consider your dog’s breed and health conditions when planning summer activities.

Fun Summer Activities That Keep Your Dog Cool

While taking precautions, don’t forget to have fun! Here are a few ideas to keep your dog entertained and cool:

Dog licking cool treat
  • Frozen Treats: Make dog-friendly ice cream or freeze toys in a block of ice for them to lick and play with.
  • Evening Walks: Explore new trails in the cooler evening air. It’s a new adventure every day!
  • Doggie Playdates: Arrange playdates in shaded parks where dogs can socialize and play in a safe environment.
  • Interactive Toys: Engage your dog with interactive toys that can be filled with cold treats or water.


Keeping your dog safe and cool during the summer doesn’t need to be a daunting task. With the right strategies and some creative fun, you can ensure that your dog enjoys the season without any health risks. Always stay alert to the signs of overheating and be ready to adapt your plans according to the weather. Here’s to a cool, enjoyable summer with your best friend!

By being proactive and attentive, you’ll ensure that both you and your pup can enjoy all the pleasures that summer has to offer safely and happily. So, grab some sunscreen for yourself, a water bottle for your dog, and enjoy the beautiful weather together—safely!

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